‘Supporters want FPJ proclaimed president’
Supporters of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. still want him proclaimed the 14th president of the Philippines.
“The millions of Filipinos who voted for him demand this,” said Marichu Vera Perez-Maceda, one of Poe’s campaign managers during the 2004 presidential elections. “The truth must come out. I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the provinces who have the same sentiment. ’Di puedeng babuyin ang boto ng mga tao (The people’s vote cannot be disrespected).”
Maceda, a close friend of Poe’s widow Susan Roces, made the statement even after Roces, in an earlier interview, said that proclaiming Poe was no longer important since he had died in December 2004 following a stroke.
“Susan is not the type of person who is hungry for power and recognition, she’s a very simple lady,” Maceda noted.
Allegations of massive election fraud not only in 2004 but also in 2007 were made against former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and dismissed Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol.
Last week, a group of policemen led by Senior Superintendent Rafael Santiago Jr. apologized to the Filipino people, as well as to Roces, for participating in an alleged cheating operation aimed at ensuring Arroyo’s victory in 2004.
Maceda said she was working closely with Senator Francis Escudero, who was Poe’s spokesperson, in gathering evidence that would prove that the voters’ list in Cebu was “bloated” to favor Arroyo.
“Pag (When it’s) bloated, mas madaling itago ang (it’s easier to hide) padded votes. With the added voters on the list ang lalabas na (what will come out in the) percentage of people who actually voted ay (is) 101 or 105 percent. I believe that GMA really won in Cebu not by one million but by only 300,000 to 400,000,” she said.
“In due time, it will all come out. You will see that the election returns of Cebu were very neat—only one person made them. There are election returns that if you compare them, you will see that they have the same penmanship.”
Maceda said her group was trying to piece together the “whole story.” She said she had spoken to someone from the Commission on Elections who claimed to have known what happened to the supposed plan for automated counting in 2004.
“He told me that two days after FPJ (Poe) announced he was running, somebody from GMA’s (Arroyo) group went to see the commissioner to tell him that we were going back to manual counting. The computers from Mega Pacific were already here then. It was a conspiracy from the very start.”
Violations of law
Benjamin Abalos was the chair when the Comelec approved a P1.3-billion contract with the Mega Pacific consortium for the purchase of automated counting machines. The deal was later declared void by the Supreme Court because of “clear violations of law and jurisprudence” and “reckless disregard of [Comelec’s] own bidding rules and procedure.”
Maceda also talked about alleged massive cheating that allegedly occurred in the Visayas. “Visayas takes up 21 percent of the votes of the entire country—Luzon about 50-plus percent. In spite of the vote shaving, FPJ won by almost 1.8 million votes in Luzon alone. Tinapatan ’yon sa Visayas (They countered that with votes from the Visayas). GMA won by 2.2 million. How can a 21-percent voting population (come up with votes) higher than Luzon’s?”
Maceda said FPJ’s supporters did not expect Santiago and the other policemen to now come out with reports of election irregularities. “Something like this, which was never resolved, acquires a life of its own. We are surprised by what is being revealed. You can’t stop this anymore… FPJ keeps coming back and haunting everybody.”
Maceda recalled a conversation she had with Poe weeks before he died. “I asked him ‘Ano ang mga sama ng loob mo sa mga nangyari (What are your feelings about what happened)? He said, ‘Masama ang loob ko, Manay, sa Mindanao. Akin yun Mindanao. At saka yun military at police, akin yun (I feel bad about Mindanao. Mindanao was mine. And the military and police, they were mine).’
If you noticed in all of Ronnie’s movies, wala siyang binaboy na pulis at militar. Respetado niya lahat, (he did not disrespect the police and the military) even the Muslims. Ronnie died na may kinikimkim na sama ng loob (keeping his hurt feelings to himself).”
Maceda said Roces had been depressed lately. “Swanie (Roces’ nickname) is missing Ronnie (Poe) so much. Sometimes it takes years before you realize that you really miss someone. She’s feeling very melancholic. In due time she will talk to everybody.”
Roces’ daughter, Grace Poe Llamanzares, last week said her mother had decided not to comment further on the issue. The 70-year-old actress is reportedly on her farm in San Juan, Batangas.
“She’s chosen to live as a private citizen,” Maceda said. “I once told one of GMA’s Cabinet members, ang suwerte niyo mabait ang kaibigan kong si Susan. Kung noon libing ni FPJ diniretso ang katawan niya sa Malacañang, tanggal kayong lahat.’ Mga leaders ni FPJ, ordinary people, ang sumisigaw nito, but Susan saw to it na idirestso sa sementeryo (You people are lucky my friend Susan is a good person. If during FPJ’s funeral his body was taken directly to Malacañang, you all would have been ousted. FPJ’s leaders, ordinary people were clamoring for this but Susan saw to it the funeral ended up at the cemetery.).”
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